Disaster Unemployment Assistance now available for Linn County workers

The sculpture outside the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance (501 1st St SE) was downed during the Aug. 10 derecho. — courtesy of Steve Shriver

Individuals who are unable to work or were temporarily laid off in Linn County due to the Aug. 10 derecho may be eligible for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).

DUA is part of the major disaster declaration President Donald Trump approved on Aug. 17. Trump OKed federal assistance for Linn County on Aug. 20 but aid for the remaining 26 counties Gov. Kim Reynolds requested is still under review.

During a press conference in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, Reynolds said it’s likely the federal government won’t approve aid for all the counties she requested, the Des Moines Register reported. Reynolds did not list the counties that might not qualify.

“In some areas, I think, they already have made the determination that they probably don’t (qualify),” Reynolds said. “But some of the more impacted areas like Marshalltown, Benton, Tama — we’re continuing to run the numbers.”

DUA expands eligibility for unemployment benefits and provides assistance to individuals who are self-employed, including business owners and farmers, according to Iowa Workforce Development.

Eligible individuals must be unemployed “as a direct result of the major disaster.” They must also be a U.S. citizen or legal permanent resident, not qualify for regular unemployment benefits and worked (or scheduled to begin work) in Linn County. The individuals must also establish that the work was their primary source of income.

Others may be eligible for DUA if they meet the following criteria.

• Can no longer work or perform services because of physical damage or destruction to their place of employment as a direct result of a disaster; or

• Cannot perform work or self-employment because of an injury caused as a direct result of the disaster; or

• Became the breadwinner or major support of a household because of the death of the head of the household; or

• Cannot work or perform self-employment due to closure of a facility by the federal government.

To fill out the online application, individuals will need their Social Security Number, name and address of the employer, proof that they were employed at the time of the disaster or scheduled to begin work. A copy of the most recent federal income tax forms or check stubs might also be required.

People who are eligible can receive up to 27 weeks of DUA benefits as long as unemployment continues due to the impact of the derecho. Eligibility will be determined on a week-to-week basis.

Applications must be filed by Sept. 24.

Anyone with questions can call IWD at 1-866-239-0843.

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